A Life Worth Remembering: Phyllis Ziarko, Library Trustee
A love for reading led Tinley Park woman to a career working with books.
Phyllis Ziarko had a passion for reading that she turned into a career as a librarian in Frankfort and a library district trustee in Tinley Park.
“She brought a unique perspective from being an employee at the Frankfort Library to being a trustee at the Tinley Library,” said Tinley Park Library Administrator Rich Wolff. “She saw the big picture.”
Mrs. Ziarko, of Tinley Park, died on Oct. 17 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was two days shy of her 64th birthday.
“She enjoyed being on the board,” said her husband Dennis Ziarko.
“She was an amazing person in terms of her knowledge,” said Frankfort Library Director Pierre Gregoire, who worked with Mrs. Ziarko for two years at the library until she retired in May 2010 after almost 17 years.
“She knew so much from having read all kinds of books,” said Gregoire.
“She read all kinds of books,” her husband said. “She had always been a reader. She was always reading, reading, reading.
“There were always books on the nightstand,” he said.
Her personal book collection is being donated to the Tinley Library. “I can’t just throw the books out,” her husband said.
The couple also shared a love of music—folk music in particular.
“We met at the campus folk song club at the University of Illinois,” her husband said. “We returned many times to enjoy the U of I folk festivals.”
He was from the Oak Lawn area and she grew up in Chicago’s East Side community. “The streets with the alphabet names,” he said.
They moved to Tinley Park in 1972.
The couple also shared a love for travel and camping.
“We had many vacations tent camping,” her husband said. “We visited every state west of the Mississippi River and parts of Canada, though we never got to Alaska.”
While traveling on those vacations, Mrs. Ziarko enjoyed another passion: her knitting.
“She started to crochet,” said her husband. “And that led her into knitting. She’d always be knitting something for somebody.
“We’d be on the road on vacation and she’d pass the time knitting in the car while we were driving,” her husband said.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.
Other survivors include her son, Michael Ziarko, of Lansing, and two grandsons.